The UK Web Focus blog invites occasional guest posts which cover topics which are likely to be of interest to readers of this blog. In this guest post Edward Miller, a graduate from the University of Sheffield, describes ways of opening up University space online using Google Street View. This post is based on his work for the Sheffield University.

Sheffield Information Commons Street View
Google Street View inside Sheffield University Information Commons

Last month, Sheffield University became the first University to have Google Street View inside one of their buildings. So far, the ground and first floor of the university’s flagship learning space, the Information Commons has been mapped out, with more buildings on their way.

To see the imagery, just drag the little man into the building or you can go directly to it. Don’t forget to explore both floors by going up or down the stairs.

Once more buildings have been made live on Street View, each building will be embedded into the university’s website, along with integration into the University’s Facebook page.

Shooting Google Streetview-in the Information Commons
Edward Photographing Street View inside Sheffield University Information Commons

Google started to roll out Google Street View inside buildings about a year and a half ago, initially just in the United States and now have a roster of “Google-Trusted photographers” across several countries who are able to photograph the Street View imagery.

In addition to photographing Street View imagery, photographers also take still photos around each venue for use in any offline and online marketing and are uploaded to your Google Place Page to help improve a building or businesses’ web presence and SEO.

After what began with a few streets in the States 5 years ago, Street View has now expanded to 5 million miles of road across 48 countries with 96% coverage of all roads in the UK. We can travel from the Rainforest to the Grand Canyon; from caves in Japan to a hut in the Antarctic in a matter of seconds. It allows us to visit places halfway across the globe that are inaccessible, either because of time, money or practicality.

For universities, this means prospective students who are unable to visit a university in person are able to gauge a feeling for the environment from the comfort of their homes on their computer or mobile device. For international students particularly, this could be an invaluable resource. In a world becoming increasingly digital, Street View allows universities to celebrate, promote and attract people to their physical home, online.

Edward Miller, a graduate from the University of Sheffield, started a business producing interactive photography in his third year of University whilst reading Philosophy and Psychology. He specializes in large scale ‘gigapixel’ photos that can be tagged through Facebook and is trusted by Google to produce Street View imagery. Since leaving university, he as built a client list including The Mail, ESPN, Press Association and Vogue.

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